The Amateur Soldier Again (4 november 1911)
See also his second letter on the same topic : The Amateur Soldier Again (2 december 1911).
The Amateur Soldier Again
Sir, — In his review of Mr. Erskine Childers' recent book upon the subject of cavalry tactics, in which he repeats his argument that we should be wiser to learn from our own experience than from German theories, your critic continually quotes an anonymous cavalry officer who deprecates the writer's views. Might I, as a supporter of those views, give an instance on the other side? A distinguished soldier who saw the whole of the African War and won his D.S.O. in the course of it (I enclose his name, but not for publication), was in my study the other day, and seeing Childers' War and the Arme Blanche upon my desk, he took it up with the remark, "This is to me an absolutely convincing military treatise". I mention the incident merely to show that to pooh-pooh these views as those of an amateur soldier is not a reasonable attitude. As a matter of fact, though Mr. Childers is technically an amateur, he actually served in Africa and saw a good deal of fighting. No one can read his books without admiring the amount of military reading and thought which goes to the making of them, and they are not to be lightly set aside by mere assertions unaccompanied by argument or proof.
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex.